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Offseason | MLB Week 27

Late longballs help Rays avoid sweep against Cubs

Wed May 31 5:33pm ET
Field Level Media


Brandon Lowe clubbed a tying two-run homer in the seventh inning, then Jose Siri put Tampa Bay ahead with his own two-run shot in the eighth, and the visiting Rays avoided a sweep in the three-game series with Wednesday afternoon's 4-3 victory over the Chicago Cubs.

Tampa Bay, which totaled one run in losing the first two of this set, trailed 2-0 when Lowe, with a man on, took Mark Leiter Jr. (1-1) into the center-field batter's eye.

Then with the Rays down 3-2, and after Taylor Walls drew a walk, Siri tagged Leiter on a drive that nearly landed in the same spot for the visitors' first lead of the series.

Meanwhile, the Cubs squandered a first-and-third, one-out situation in the eighth. They then had the bases loaded with one out in the ninth, but squandered the chance to tie to conclude a 4-5 homestand, which included being swept in three games by the Cincinnati Reds.

Chicago starter Justin Steele, one of the majors' biggest surprises this season (6-2, 2.77 ERA entering the game), was perfect through the first three innings, and stayed in the game despite a visit from manager David Ross and trainer Nick Frangella early in the third. However, Hayden Wesneski took over in the fourth, as Steele officially exited with left forearm tightness after tossing three perfect innings with one strikeout.

Wesneski lasted 3 2/3 innings but was pulled after walking Manuel Margot with two outs in the seventh. Leiter replaced him, then Lowe's ninth homer tied the game. Chicago, though, regained the lead on Trey Mancini's pinch-hit RBI single off Colin Poche (4-1) in the bottom of the frame, but Leiter again blew a lead on Siri's 10th homer before exiting in the eighth.

The Cubs wasted no time getting to Tampa Bay starter Zach Eflin in the first. Nico Hoerner drew a leadoff walk, stole second and eventually scored on a single by Ian Happ, who also swiped second base, and came home on Mike Tauchman's line single to right.

Eflin was charged with all three Cubs' runs and also gave up four hits and a walk, and fanned five, before he was lifted after giving up Seiya Suzuki's double to lead off the seventh.

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